Student Spotlight: Emma Stolzenthaler

Student Spotlight: Emma Stolzenthaler

Many students are involved in sports and clubs around the high school. But ninth grader Emma Stolzenthaler has a more unique past time. While others are playing football, volleyball, and basketball, Emma is competing in horse trials.

A horse trial, also known as eventing, consists of dressage, stadium jumping, and cross country.

“It’s similar to triathlons because of the three different events,” said Emma. “I’ve been riding for about four years, but I’ve only evented for about three years.”

Dressage consists of training the horse to respond to precise movements the rider makes, and stadium jumping tests the jumping skills of the horse and rider by placing 12-20 fences varying in sizes around the track. In cross country, horses are judged on their speed, endurance, and jumping skills during a several course run.  A typical event lasts two or three days.

“Event days are very fun, but you have to work really hard throughout the show,” Emma explained. “The barn I ride at has many riders that all help out and support our team. Two days before the show starts, the horses are driven to the show. The first day, they get settled into their stalls and rest from the trailer ride, and on the second day we practice. The following day, we get up early to take care of the horses and start our show.”

Emma trains 18 hours a week with her 14-year-old chestnut thoroughbred, Puff Dragon at Sterling Silver Stables.

“My greatest accomplishment with my horse was when we ended up first at the New Jersey Horse Park, and more recently, going to the American Eventing Championships. I was in in the training group, which had 40 riders, and I placed eighth.

“I plan on continuing this into the future, and I’m aiming to get to the Olympics later in my life,” Emma said. “I have many favorite things about being an equestrian, but I really love learning to work with these horses. They can’t speak or know what you’re saying to them, but we’re still helping each other become partners.”